UPDATE: Kansas City woman sues after drink laced with laxative

Thursday, October 18, 2012 | 7:57 a.m. CDT; updated 12:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 18, 2012

KANSAS CITY — A Kansas City woman who says she drank a soft drink spiked with laxatives has filed a lawsuit over what police said began as an employee prank.

Barbara J. Nelson, 54, claims she became ill after drinking a laxative-laced bottle of Coca-Cola she bought Sept. 10 at a Family Dollar Store in Kansas City.

Police reports said an assistant manager allegedly told police he put 25 laxative tablets into each of two plastic bottles of Coke as a "prank" against another employee. The assistant manager apparently then used glue to reseal the bottle caps before putting them in the employees' refrigerator, according to the police report.

The report said the intention was that the targeted employee "would take and drink both of the Cokes, even though they were not his drinks." That worker, however, noticed the laxative tablets and allegedly put the bottle back into a cooler meant for customers.

Police said the incident remained under investigation, but no charges had been filed, The Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

Family Dollar Stores spokeswoman Bryn Winburn said the company could not comment on the incident or the lawsuit.

"Please know we take the safety of our customers and team members very seriously, and we do not tolerate any actions that put their safety in jeopardy," Winburn said in a written statement.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in Jackson County court, Nelson, who is seeking more than $25,000 and punitive damages, claims she became ill after drinking most of one of the bottles. The police report said video surveillance confirmed Nelson bought one of the Cokes the day she became ill.

Nelson said she noticed pills in the drink before she finished the whole thing. She then returned to the store, where she became ill and an ambulance was called to take her to a hospital. She was treated for dehydration and cramps.

"I had a panic attack," she said. "It was close to 9/11 and I didn't know what was in that bottle."

She said the company contacted her later and offered her a $200 gift card.

"It was like we were playing 'The Price is Right' or something," she said.

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